Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cupcake Jemma: Neapolitan Cupcakes

Hi everyone :)

So I'm a big fan of ice cream and especially different flavours together. Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate are some of my favourite flavours so when I saw Cupcake Jemma's recipe for Neapolitan cupcakes I just had to make them :)

Ingredients (chocolate base layer):
200g bourbon chocolate biscuits
50g melted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup

Ingredients: (vanilla second layer):
125g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g unsalted butter, soft
2 large free range eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp whole milk

Ingredients (strawberry buttercream top layer):
200g unsalted butter, soft
450g sifted icing sugar
6-8 tbsp strawberry jam, seedless and smooth

1. Pop the bourbon biscuits into a food processor and buzz until fine crumbs (or just put in a sandwich bag and bash with a wooden rolling pin until crumbs).
2. Add the bourbon biscuits crumbs, the melted butter and the golden syrup into a bowl and mix until combined. Spoon 1 tbsp of the mixture into 12 liners in a cupcake tray and press down with your fingers or a 1/2 cup measuring spoon as this fits perfectly. Leave to one side.
3. Using a stand mixer - in the bowl add the flour, caster sugar, bicarbonate of soda, butter and the 2 eggs. Mix for about a minute on medium so that all the ingredients are combined and you have a golden yellow batter. Slow the mixer down and add the vanilla and milk and beat for another 15-30 seconds until combined.
4. Spoon a ping pong sized ball of mixture onto each biscuit layer. Bake at 170℃ for 20-22 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when pressed into the centre. Let the cakes cool completely before doing anything else.
5. Using the stand mixer again add the butter to the bowl and beat on medium to high for about 5 minutes until its gone nice and pale.
6. Stop the mixer and add half of the icing sugar. Beat again for another 5 minutes. Stop and add the last of the icing sugar and beat again for another 5 minutes. You should end up with pale, white, fluffy buttercream.
7. At the the time of the recipe strawberries were not in season so Jemma used a high-fruit content strawberry jam (I found it in Tesco). Just whizz it in a food processor to make it smooth. You can sieve it too if you don't want seeds in it.
8. With the mixer of slow - add as much or as little jam as you want to colour and flavour the icing. Jemma added around 6-8 tbsp of jam. I think I added around 4 tbsp.
9. Optional: Because of the amount of icing vs jam - the icing will go a pale pink - Jemma did colour her first batch of cupcakes with pink food colouring to get a really vibrant pink colour - but the choice is yours. Pale pink is just as good :)
10. Decorate your cupcakes with wafers like Jemma or I forgot to buy them so I just decorated with some leftover jam I had.

Let me know in the comments below what your favourite flavour of ice cream is ... or cupcake for that matter!!


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Mary Berry's 'One Step Ahead'

Hey everyone :)

Hope you are doing well ... it's a lovely warm sunny day in England ... and I suppose I should go out and enjoy it as we don't really get many ...

I managed to pick up another Mary Berry book last week and it's taken me ages to take some pictures. For those of you who don't know I am a big Mary Berry fan and I love her recipes!!

I've picked out a couple of my favourite recipes - the "italian meatballs" and the "lemon fudge cake" - both great, easy and scrumptious recipes!

Have you bought this book and have you made any recipes from it? Let me know in the comments below.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Cupcake Jemma: Vanilla Cupcakes and Vanilla Buttcream Rainbow Ed.

Hey everyone :)

I do love baking and today lots of catering equipment I ordered came so I was in a mood to bake! I also organised my entire baking cupboard and I am really happy with it!!

Now I have made this recipe before and it's Cupcake Jemma's recipe (for those of you who don't know she makes amazing cupcakes/cakes- she also has a YouTube channel and a shop "Crumbs & Doilies" in London.

Instead of just using plain vanilla icing and because we're getting near Pride - I thought I'd jazz it up a bit with some rainbow colours. Now I used food colouring paste (which is really strong and a little goes a long way), I find using food colouring that you need to use a lot and its very watery and this makes your buttercream runny too which isn't good. I bought my pastes online for about £5 I think it was Amazon I got them from. You can also get them from Lakeland too (which is like a food/catering shop in the UK).

Now on with the recipe:

Ingredients (cupcake batter):
125g self raising flour
125g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g soft, unsalted butter (very soft!!)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a cupcake/muffin tray with 12 cases.
2. In a sieve over the mixing bowl - add the flour, caster sugar and bicarbonate of soda and sift them.
3. Add 125g of butter.
4. Add 2 large eggs.
5. Start the mixer on a low speed until everything is just mixed and then turn up to medium to high for 1 minute.
6. With the mixer on a low speed add the milk and vanilla extract.
7. Put the mixer back up to medium to high speed for one last blast (about 30 seconds).
8. Stop the mixer, remove the paddle and get as much batter off as you can. Scrape the sides with a spatula and give a final mix with the spatula to catch anything missed by the paddle at the bottom.
9. Using a dessert spoon and teaspoon scoop the batter into the cupcake cases
10. Bake for 22 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Check with a skewer - it should come out clean.
11. Leave in tray for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Ingredients (buttercream icing):
200g very, very soft butter
450g sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
food colouring paste

1. Add the butter to a mixer and beat for 5 minutes on a medium to fast speed.
2. The butter should now look very pale (edging on white) and be fluffy.
3. Add half the icing sugar to the bowl with the butter and start the mixer on a low speed.
4. Once its incorporated turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the last half of the icing sugar and again start on slow, then once mixed together, increase speed to medium and beat for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Turn down to a low speed and add the milk and vanilla extract.
7. Turn back up to a high speed for 1-2 minutes.
8. Divide the mixture evenly between 3-4 bowls
9. Using a cocktail stick get some food colouring paste - with the colour of your choice and add each colour to each bowl and mix until you have the desired colour.
10. Get the piping bag, pop your nozzle in and cut the end off and then 'splodge' each colour down one side of the bag (warning: this gets messy and fiddly).
11. Pipe away ...

Now depending on what colour you splodged first the first couple of cupcakes may just be one colour with a hint of another - I had a few yellow ones before the other colours started to come through - but still they looked great!

I do think my icing could have been a bit softer - this is easy to fix and just requires a little bit of milk - or more milk if you added it when mixing the buttercream up.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.


Monday, 5 June 2017

Elgato Game Capture HD 60 S

Hey everyone :)

A year or so ago I started two YouTube channels - yes two!! However I think I bought off more than I could chew - I had two channels, a full-time job and a blog and that left little to no social life. So I cut the gaming channel out (it was mainly Minecraft) and decided to focus on my main channel and my blog. Work has now calmed down that I can now devote more time to another activity and I really do miss gaming and chatting away - so (as you can probably guess by the title) I bought myself an Elgato.

I'm really excited because this amazing (tiny) piece of equipment will let me record footage like PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and I think PC too.

At the time of writing this post (Sat 27th May) - the device itself cost £169.95 from Amazon UK. The device itself is no bigger than my hand and looks pretty sleek too - so it doesn't look horrible sitting behind/on top of your console.

You also get a HDMI to HDMI cable in the box and a USB 3.0 Type-C to USB. The good thing about the HDMI cable is that its short and that's a good thing because who likes lots of cables and mess behind their screens/consoles.

The device boasts the following:

Instant Gameview - stream with superior low latency technology
1080p / 60fps - stunning quality
Build-in Editor - immediate access and sharing
Stream Command - add webcam, overlays and more
Flashback Recording - record retroactively
Live Commentary - add your voice

The software for the capture can be dowloaded directly from Elgato's website - it's not a big file (which I found surprising) and installs within minutes. I did install it on my iMAC and it keeps telling me - it's not compatible because I need one dedicated GPU - but I've had no issues recording so not sure what that is about. I think most people use PCs but iMACs do work if you were wondering.

The device is really easy to "install" - all you are doing is putting it in the middle of the monitor and the PS4. You remove your HDMI cable from the back of the PS4 and plug this into the OUT HDMI port. You then take the HDMI cable you got (the shorter one) and plug this into the IN HDMI port and the other side in the back of the PS4. You then take the USB 3.0 Type-C and plug this into the device and the USB side into the back of your PC/iMAC.

Download the software, or if you have done that already - launch it. The software should auto-detect the Elgato and the console screen will appear on the software. If you are using PS4 - you may need to go to settings and disable HDCP before it will work.

You can then start recording or streaming ... so far I have recorded two videos of a new game I am playing "Rime" and the quality is breathtaking - I am very impressed!!

Let me know if the comments if you have bought an Elgato and if you have a gaming channel or if you stream - I'd love to check you out.


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Hey everyone :)

Can you guess where I went ... the title probably gives it away ...

YES! Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour!! I did go a couple of years ago but they have recently added the train station/train and the forest so I went to check it out with my friends ...

These are just a few of my pictures as I took over 200 (yes I'm crazy). Have you ever been to the studio? Let me know in the comments below ...


Thursday, 25 May 2017

Cupcake Jemma: Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Hi everyone :)

I came across this recipe of Cupcake Jemma's on YouTube last week and I'm a big fan of Carrot Cake - in the form of a cake or cupcakes or a loaf or whatever really! It's an amazing thing and I can't get enough of it!

Ingredients (cupcakes):
- 2 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup of ground walnuts (or pecans)

 - 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cup of caster sugar
- 300ml sunflower oil
- 3 cups of grated carrot

Ingredients (icing):
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 240g full-fat cream cheese
- 840g icing sugar, sifted

Method (cupcakes):
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. Firstly add all dry ingredients to a large bowl (so flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and walnuts (or pecans)) and mix together with a whisk, leave to one side for now.
3. In a stand mixer add the caster sugar and 4 large eggs to a bowl. On a low speed to start with - mix until it looks light and mousse-like - this should take a minute or so.
4. On a low speed, gradually add the sunflower oil until it is all incorporated into the egg/sugar mixture.
5. Stop the mixer and add the grated carrot. Now mix briefly on a low speed until everything comes together - 30 seconds will do.
6. You can now add the dry ingredients all at once. Mix until incorporated - again takes about a minute or so.
7. Using an ice cream scoop (or batter scoop) or by adding the mixture to a measuring jug. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. I managed to get 18 with my mixture but some of my cases were rather full so I think you could manage 24 (so 2 full trays).
8. Bake in the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Method (cream cheese icing):
1. Add 150g of unsalted, softened butter and 240g of full-fat cream cheese to the mixing bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes.
2. Stop the mixer and add half of the icing sugar (so 420g) and mix on a slow speed to start with for 2-3 minutes - you can gradually increase the speed once the icing sugar has started to mix in.
3. Repeat step 2 for the last 420g of icing sugar.
4. The icing should be white and fluffy when ready.
5 . Decorate the cupcakes how you wish.

Note: Cupcake Jemma used a spoonula to decorate ... I used a spoon and got the same result. She said you can use a pallet knife or a piping bag but I thought the icing was too soft to pipe so didn't bother with that.

Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you have any ideas of what I could make next that would be great! Always on the lookout for new things to try :)

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